From Death Threats to the King’s Court
Radical reversals of fortune. We shout for joy when an innocent victim on death row is suddenly rescued because new DNA evidence clears their name. Evidently God, too, thrills to see the tables turned. He loves to rescue his children from the pit and lead them to the throne. Remember the Joseph story? Like Joseph, Daniel was facing the pits. Nebuchadnezzar’s executioner prepared to execute all the wise men of Babylon, including Daniel and his three friends. But then we’ve seen this week how the God of heaven revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel right on time, and its interpretation. Here’s the resolution of the second episode in the Book of Daniel.
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel. He even commanded a grain offering and incense to be presented to him. And the king responded to Daniel’s revelation of his secret and said, ‘It’s true. Your God, he’s the God of gods and the Lord of kings, the revealer of secrets, for you were able to reveal this secret.’
Then the king exalted Daniel giving him many expensive gifts and giving him governing authority over the district of Babylon. He made him the chief of the wise men of Babylon. And at the request of Daniel the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego administrators over the district of Babylon. But Daniel himself was right there in the court of the king.” Daniel 2: 46-49
One thing we know. Nebuchadnezzar is a man of extremes. Here he goes from threatening to kill Daniel to making him his prime minister. Now that’s a reversal, but Daniel’s life was not subject to the chaotic whims of an ego filled monarch. Even Nebuchadnezzar got the point that Daniel’s God was the true God, proved by the fact that he could reveal the secret of the king’s dream. More than that, Daniel’s God was the true sovereign, deciding who ruled when, how long, and who in the end would rule forever. True to his generous team spirit Daniel didn’t forget to mention his friends even while the king was lavishing gifts and positions upon him.
LORD, thanks that Daniel trusted in you when it looked like his life would end, and he continued to trust and be a faithful friend when the big reversal came and he found himself on top.
Note: A lot of Bible teachers at this point take out their chart showing the image and then the four successive world empires represented. The liberal scholars say the four empires are Babylon, Media, Persia, and finally Greece with a second century BC writer focusing on Antiochus Epiphanes in the 2ndcentury in the climax. Conservative scholars counter with Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece, Rome, and then a final expression of the iron empire with God’s kingdom destroying all the human empires to set up his eternal reign. Let’s let the text of Daniel itself give us the clues as he continues the story. One thing we should all know at this point: God, not Nebuchadnezzar, is calling the shots.
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